Trend of malpractice litigation against neurosurgeons in Japan: An analysis of disclosed database by courts in Japan from 2001 through 2015

Hisashi Nagashima, Yoshitaka Wada, Kazuhiro Hongo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Following the modern raising of public awareness, the numbers of malpractice litigation are increasing in the health care delivery system in Japan despite the extensive efforts of physicians. Authors reviewed the issues of litigation and the reasons for court decision from the healthcare-related negligence lawsuits in the past 15 years in Japan and investigated the cautionary points for reducing potential litigation. Healthcare-related negligence lawsuits between January 2001 and December 2015 were retrieved and sorted in each clinical field from the database in Courts in Japan and investigated on the proportional factors of the claims and court decisions in the neurosurgical field. During the period, 446 of healthcare-related court decisions including 41 against neurosurgeons (9.2%) were retrieved. Three of 41 decisions retrieved were decisions to retries for lower court decisions. In 38 claims against the neurosurgeons, 26 identified the negligence and 12 dismissed. In 26 decisions in favor of the plaintiffs, identified negligence in diagnosis in 4, clinical judgment in 3, technical skills in 5, clinical management in 7 and process of informed consent in 7. Five out of 18 decisions after 2006 were identified as negligence in an informed consent process, and additional one, who was mainly identified in inadequate technical skills also identified existing an inadequate informed consent process as a fundamental cause of litigation. Neurosurgeons are a higher risk group for malpractice litigation in Japan and adequate informed consent is important to reduce the risk of litigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-432
Number of pages7
JournalNeurologia Medico-Chirurgica
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1



  • Court decision
  • Lawsuit
  • Litigation
  • Medical malpractice
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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